Local SEO: The Single Most Overlooked Strategy
Why Local Targeting is Key
Whilst it is fine targeting the entire city or state for many services, the simplest, most overlooked optimisation technique is very simple: targeting to the suburb level. Both city and suburb targeting complement each other; city targeting is good to get the general traffic, but for many local businesses, suburb targeting will provide higher quality traffic, and above all, there is usually no competition.
The number one thing to remember is EFFORT vs REWARD. Small businesses want to put in as little money/effort as possible yet want the maximum rewards for the amount of effort. In an agency SEO context you can offer this cheap SEO on a purely suburb level. Whilst you cannot boast amazing rankings for more generic keywords, as long as they are seeing an increase in traffic/sales you have a happy client.
Take this example; if you are promoting a florist that delivers to a few select suburbs 20 minutes from the Perth CBD; you don’t try to target the term “florist” internationally. The effort, money and resources that have to be spent on this would not be worth that little bit of extra traffic that would actually be relevant. Most would then go to the city level – targeting “florist in Perth” rather than simply “florist” – this is OK, however, the florist isn’t really delivering throughout all of Perth, only to a few select suburbs. So, why don’t we just try to dominate some suburb keywords – “Florist in suburb” is much easier to rank for than “Florist in city”, isn’t it?
Now, you are probably saying that nobody searches for suburb names… this is complete rubbish. I have done SEO on hundreds of local business sites and watched the stats very closely for most of these sites: people search for suburb names all the time – if I want a hairdressers to go to, I want to find one in the immediate vicinity to where I live, not a 40 minute drive away. As such, I (and a lot of other people) search very locally.
Think of Your Customers
Sure, on face value I would much rather for my business to rank when somebody is searching with the city name, but it just doesn’t make sense if I only service 3-4 suburbs. Think of what the visitor would want once they get to your site; they want to find what they are looking for, and if it’s a local business they want it to be local. They want to see each suburb you service listed right there on your home page.
In my opinion, it is much better to be on the first position for a specific suburb phrase that will bring very few, but very targeted visitors, rather than be on the 3rd page for a more general city phrase. Google map listings in search results have taken a fair bit of suburb targeting out of the picture, but this has resulted in people forgetting about the fundamentals of SEO, and not even trying to get their sites to rank for specific areas/suburbs. From an effort vs reward perspective, targeting to the suburb level is fundamental, especially where businesses have small budgets yet still want to bring in sales/leads from their website.